Wednesday, May 30, 2012

57 Miles of Crazy

Last Summer Morgan and I decided that we wanted to ride our bikes from Waterloo IA to Cedar Rapids IA. Now that Noelle is no longer nursing we decided it was the perfect time to go. Morgan's brother's Guy and Gordon said they wanted to come with us. They brought their friends Christina and Rachel as well.

We decided that Memorial Day would be the best time for all of us to go. I kept trying to talk Morgan out of the trip, saying that perhaps we ought to do a shorter, 30 mile loop or so. The most that we have ever gone before was a 13-mile round trip with the kids.

I have been exercising a lot, and am in the best shape I have been for a while, but still I was nervous. But the weather said it wasn't supposed to be too bad so we decided to go for the big Kahuna.

Sunday Guy, Dan, Christina and Rachel drove up to Waterloo. Then the boys drove Morgan's truck, Guy's car and our van down to Cedar Rapids. (Technically our destination was Hiawatha, but the cities run together.)

They parked the truck and car at the bike trailhead then drove down to Iowa City to pick up Ginny who had just spoken at her Seminary Graduation. Ginny agreed to watch our kids for us while we rode the trail.

Everyone is eating breakfast and getting ready to go.

The bikes are just waiting for us to start. 

We were very smart and took TONS of Fake-Gatorade. We loaded up a big cooler full of drinks, sandwiches and ice. We put the cooler plus tools in our trailer, which we hitched up to Morgan's bike. It was probably about 150 pounds. Very heavy. The boys were gentlemen and took turns pulling the trailer so we girls did not have to. I am really glad they did, because I would not have been able to pull the trailer very fast. It was crazy heavy.

Melissa and Morgan are ready to go!
It was really hard. I had allergies bothering me so I kept having to blow my nose at every stop. There were 2 terrible parts of the trail. The first was the detour we had to take at La Porte City. The bike trail bridge that went over the Cedar River at McFarlane State Park was damaged in the 2008 floods and was closed.

What would have been 3 miles on bike trail ended up as a 6 mile detour. That would have been fine, except all 6 miles of the detour were on Gravel Roads, plus we were in a headwind. Poor Dan was pulling the heavy trailer in the loosest rock possible.

We did make sure to take a bunch of breaks to relax our sore muscles and drink plenty of fluid. That actually helped a lot. We did have two sections of the trail where trees had fallen across, but the guys got us through them.  Breaking branches and making a path for us.

We stopped for lunch at a lovely park in Urbana. Nearly every city had bathrooms available for us to use. By the time we reached Urbana we had already gone 38 miles. We were feeling good. After all, we only had twenty more to go!

The shelter in Urbana had a little bird sitting on its nest.  So cute!

The next 7 miles from Urbana to Center Point were the easiest on the trail. It felt like we traveled them in no time at all.

We only had 13 miles to go and were feeling pretty good. We did see a couple signs saying that the trail was closed for asphalting. We tried to call the Parks and Recreation number, but since it was a holiday no one was working and they didn't have any information on their answering machine about it.

We didn't really feel like we had any good choice but to keep going on the trail. We didn't want to get lost trying to find another detour, and we didn't have a map to even know where to start looking!

The road wasn't too bad. We eventually got to where new asphat was laid and it was so nice to ride on a smooth road. Other parts were still the old limestone trail, but nothing was too difficult.

The problem was that those 13 miles was one continual slow upgrade hill with very little shade and a very HOT headwind. It was a killer. The construction crew had taken out all of the mileage signs so we didn't know how far we had come or how far we had to go. I still think that stretch had to have been 20 miles not 13.

But we made it back to civilization and made it to our trailhead. It was amazing to have accomplished such a feat. Morgan even said that he wanted to do it again sometime. We didn't have any accidents, nor did we have any flat tires or problems of that sort.

Morgan added to the crazy by going to play disc gold league later that Monday night. Although he may have been the smartest one because he said the walking around the course helped keep his muscles loose. I was very stiff Monday night and Tuesday. I did a little mile walking exercise Tuesday to stretch my muscles and keep them strong. Then Tuesday night we took the kids on a bike ride to Evansdale and back, a 6 miles round trip.

I have learned a couple of things from this trip, though.
First, the type of trail you ride on makes a HUGE difference. The trails around Waterloo are the best, nice smooth black asphalt-y stuff.
2nd Gravel roads stink and should be avoided at all costs.
3rd - I can do hard things. Really hard things, and survive.
4th - Horray for water and strong guys for carrying it for us
5th - Biking Jersey's are awesome!  I bought mine just for this trip and it was so light and comfortable. I am going to take it with me to Utah when I go hiking.

6th - Being fit and active is really fun. I am so glad that I have been focusing on my health more and becoming more healthy. I still have 8 pounds of weight to lose to reach the goal I made in January, but I know that it will happen. Life is good.


Food. One of my favorite things.

It is also one of Noelle's favorite things too. She has decided that she wants to feed herself now. If I try to feed her she will throw her head back against her chair and whine. Other times she will shake her head "no" at me. It was very frustrating until I realized that I needed to give up control of the spoon and let her feed herself. Now she is a lot happier when she eats.

We haven't given her control of the bowl or plate yet. We will fill her spoon and give it to her, or put food directly on her tray for her to pick up with her fingers. I don't know how much she is eating anymore since so much of it gets all over her  and all over the chair and tray. But hopefully she will keep on growing.

Sunday morning I wanted to make my family's Swedish Pancake (crepe) recipe for breakfast. I had bought blueberries, strawberries, and whipped topping that I thought would go excellent in it. It was delicious. Definitely a good treat.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

End of School Activities

Eli had a Field Day at his school during the last week. I went to volunteer and helped pass out snacks to the kids. Josh and Noelle were with me too. Eli' wonderful teacher told Eli to run over and invite Josh to participate in the Field Day activities with them. It was great.  Josh had so much fun (a lot more than he would have had just sitting with me!) And Eli was a great big brother, very protective of Josh and making sure that he knew where to go and what to do.  I got a couple of pictures of them together.

E & J waiting outside the bounce house. 

Funny Faces

Josh Bouncing 

Eli had a big landing

Eating snacks

The kids all got a fruit bar, a piece of fruit and some water. 

Noelle did pretty well, although she got quite tired and grumpy towards the end. 

Eli's school also had a Kindergarten ice cream social the last week of school. Families were invited to this so Josh, Noelle and I rode our bikes up to the school.

Mrs. Schmitt and Eli.  She was such an amazing and great teacher for Eli.  She really taught him a lot and helped him grow. I am glad that she was his teacher. Hopefully Josh can have her in 2 years when he goes to Kindergarten. 

First Tooth

Eli lost his first tooth!  Saturday, May 19th he was being babysat by our friend Mara while Morgan and I went shooting. His tooth had been loose for a week or so but that night he told Mara that it was hurting him and asked her to pull it out.

Apparently he was very brave and did a great job. He was so proud to show us his tooth when we got home.  Eli wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy and asked her if he could keep his tooth. She obliged and left him his tooth, a note reminding him to always remember to brush is teeth, and a one dollar bill.

The note and dollar were in the same ziploc bag as his tooth so Eli didn't notice them at first when he woke up. He came into our bedroom all sad that the Tooth Fairy didn't come. He was very excited when he found it.

Mormon Helping Hands

Eli and Josh playing out side with their weapons.

A weekend or so ago our ward had a Mormon Helping Hands service project. We went to Hickory Hills, a local campground, park and lake area to pick up trash.  We had a really good time.  The kids went with me around the lake to pick up garbage and Morgan went with some other men to stack firewood for the forest service people.
After we cleaned up we had a ward picnic/BBQ.  Hickory Hills was a pretty cool place. It was our first time going there, but I think we will have to go back again someday.

Awkward photo of our famil.

Eli in his Mormon Helping Hands t-shirt

Noelle hung out in her stroller. 

Eli loved to climb the tree by the pavilion. 

Josh playing on a bridge. 

Eli showing off his dangerous moves. 

Noelle fell asleep during our clean-up time. Thank heavens!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ear Infections Stink

Monday Noelle had a pretty high fever in the evening. Tuesday afternoon it was still there even though I had been giving her Tylenol. I decided to take her to the doctor Tuesday afternoon since she was so grumpy and uncomfortable.

It turns out that she had an ear infection in both ears. We got some medicines and started giving them to her.

Two days later we are still dealing with a grumpy, tired, clingy, and occasionally feverish baby girl.

I just want her to get better quickly. It is so hard to get anything done with a sick child. I think the hardest part for me is that she does not want me to feed her any more now either. Today I tried to give her applesauce for a snack and she had a fit, throwing her head back into the chair.

At lunch I just put her food on a plate and gave it to her. It was the most peaceful meal we have had in a while, but I can never know how much she eats since so much of it ends up on the floor and in her seat.

I feel more stressed out about her eating since she had her one year appointment. She weight 16.7 pounds. At nine months she weight 16 pounds. She is a skinny little girl, in the 1st Percentile. Our doctor isn't worried because she continues to get taller and her head is still growing. But just knowing she is on the skinny side makes me concerned that she is getting enough nutrients and enough to eat.

I am sure that it will all be alright in the end. We just have to push through these phases one day at a time. And always look forward to bedtime.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I love eating sushi.  It saves a lot of money if I make it myself. Granted I only ever use imitation crab as my meat, but I have branched out with other additions. The things I like to put in my sushi include, but do not all go at once,
     Crab meat
     Cream Cheese - it must be real cream cheese and not the 1/3 less fat stuff.
     Wasabi - I put a tiny smidgeon across the cream cheese.  Easy to apply and gives it a kick.
      Pickled Ginger - I did this last time for the first time.
     Sesame Seeds

Another thing I did for the first time was made my own inside-out rolls. It was fun and they were very tasty.

Noelle had her 1 year check up.  She is tiny.  16.7 pounds, which is the 1%. But her height and head were growing, 33% and 25% I believe.

Our pediatrician said that it was okay for Noelle to be strapped in the bike trailer without her car seat.  I put her and Josh in one day as we went to pick up Eli from school.  She did really well.

Last Friday I got to go to Eli's school for a Muffins with Mom activity. We got to watch a magician's show.  Eli had a great time. Morgan stayed home with Noelle and Josh so that I didn't have to get a baby sitter.

Mom's School Party

It is hard to believe that Josh's Mom's School days are over.  We decided to have one last field trip as our end of year party. We went to Hansen's Dairy Farm (they are the makers of the delicious Moo-Roo ice cream.)

The kids had a great time.

Noelle was excited to get going 

Josh loved feeding the Wallabies 

Sweet Josh

It is impossible to get a picture of a child next to a calf, where the said child is looking at the camera. The calf kept trying to lick Josh's shirt, so this is the best shot I've got.

We got to ride a little trolley to the new Visitor's Center.
Happy Noelle 

The Visitor's Center is awesome. It has this board where pictures can be taken. The wooden cow where you can practice your skills. It is indoor and air conditioned, perfect for eating ice cream.

I love this picture of Noelle, she's not looking and Josh, who had the camera. But it is such a great smile!

Friday, May 18, 2012

We've Got a Garden!

 Noelle enjoyed playing with her new birthday present

It was finally time to plant our garden again this year. We decided to protect our garden from the bunnies who ate ALL of our green bean plants last year by putting in a nice fence this year. Morgan went to the store, got all the supplies we needed and installed the fence.

Then I went to the store and bought tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, cucumber, zucchini, and squash plants.

Eli and Josh enjoyed helping us plant and water our garden.